Awesome Mother’s Day Giveaway!



I recently learned of an amazing organization called Connected in Hope, which helps provide women artisans in Ethiopia with sustainable, fair trade income. Like the founder of Connected in Hope, I feel a deep connection to the women of Ethiopia. Also- I really like nice scarves!I’ve been wearing mine every day for a week.

Check out their website or facebook page to see their beautiful wares.

Connected in Hope is generously offering a scarf as a giveaway to one of my readers. Go like their fb page and then leave a comment here telling me that you did. I’ll draw a name at random next week and you can pick any scarf from their website.

And should you want to just go and order one, use the discount code HOPE10 for 10% off!

Here is the story of Connected in Hope, from their founder:

Meet Mulu:

At 49 years old, Mulu’s face tells the story of the hardship she has endured. When she was in her early twenties she escaped an abusive husband and fled the Ethiopian countryside for Addis Ababa. Hoping to find a better life and more opportunity in Ethiopia’s capital city her dreams were quickly dashed. Having limited education and no skills she was forced to begin the job of carrying fuel wood.

Mulu’s work as a fuel wood carrier began long before the sun rose over Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She left her sleeping children, quietly slipped out of the door and made her way to the jungle. For the next few hours she collected eucalyptus branches from the forest floor, gathering them into a thick bundle. Hoisting the 75 lb. bundle to her back, Mulu began the long hike to the market in the center of the city. Mulu’s back hunched over from the tremendous weight and her muscles burned as she walked; the physical toll that this work was taking on her body evident with every step. Mulu knew the birr she hoped to earn, worth less than $1 USD, would be enough to pay for her medication and feed her children just for that day. If she was fortunate, she would sell all the fuel wood and start her long walk home by late afternoon. Tomorrow, long before dawn, she would begin again.

Following the adoption of our youngest son Joseph from Ethiopia in 2009, my family and I felt a compelling desire to give back to the kind and loving people of his birth country. A subsequent visit to Ethiopia brought us face-to-face with women like Mulu, burdened with bundles of fuel wood. We learned about the enormous challenges they face every day in an effort to provide even the basics for their families. We met children forced to quit school and work when the complications of HIV/AIDS left their mothers too ill to support the family. The faces of the women fuel wood carriers and their children were imprinted on our hearts and left us forever changed – and committed!

We met a group of former fuel wood carriers who had been taught to weave scarves; however, with a very limited market, they weren’t selling enough to be able to support their families. It was through interactions with these amazing women, that Connected in Hope Foundation was born.

Connected in Hope was founded to help these women build their weaving business so it could provide each of them with a sustainable, predictable, and Fair Trade income. The weavers are paid upfront for their beautiful, hand woven scarves, which we then bring to the international market through our website, retail stores and trunk shows. Once the scarves are sold, 100% of the profit is re-invested in programs that benefit the women and their families. We take a holistic approach that goes beyond Fair Trade to include improved educational opportunities and increased access to basic health care.

Holla at the Mommas

I’m in New York right now for some meetings and events, so I spent Mother’s Day away from my son, which felt like spending it without one of my arms. Something essential was missing. I was vaguely blue all day.

But the picture above is of my run this morning in the Catskills, so that was kind of amazing. As a child, I spent my summers in these mountains. Dredge that lake and you’ll find all my kid firsts and kid fears. The light through the leaves, the particular purple of the shadows the clouds cast on the mountains, the softness of the air in the early morning- all these things feel as familiar as the lines of my palms. I’m not sure if it makes me want to run away or move back here for good.

As I was running, I thought about the mothers in my life: my mother, my birth mother, all the women that have nurtured me in various ways. And I thought of my son’s birth mother and of the women that cared for him in the orphanage before he could finally come home. I thought of the mother I’ve managed to become, finally, and of the mother I haven’t managed to become, in spite of my best intentions.

I let all these thoughts rattle around in my head until the last leg of the run came and I tried to imagine that I was T when he runs. Because he doesn’t bother with some big reverie- he runs with nothing but freedom and joy.

PIL’s “Rise” started playing on the shuffle just in time for my final sprint. So, as John Lydon says, May the road rise with you today, my beautiful mommies.

Also- fuck Time magazine and all the corrosive perfectionism we’re called to embrace as mothers in this culture. Fuck the seeds of divisiveness that article sows. We’re stronger when we’re kind to ourselves. We’re stronger when we stand together.